Zimbabwe appeals to AfDB to ease terms of arrears

“I have appealed to the bank (AfDB) to help us clear the arrears,” Patrick Chinamasa said after meeting bank executives, who are on a six-day visit to the southern African nation to assess the impact of the bank’s projects in the country.

Zimbabwe’s economy entered a tailspin after the launch of controversial land reforms 15 years ago and it has amassed around $10-billion domestic and foreign debt over the years. 

Token payments are being made, but they have not been enough to clear the millions owed in arrears to various institutions, including AfDB and the European Development Bank.

“We are trying to find a way forward,” said Chinamasa. “We need to access concessional borrowing.” Chinamasa called on AfDB to support the country’s private sector, which is battling to secure credit lines to rebuild an economy in the doldrums.

He said the bank had extended financial aid to some Zimbabwean companies – but urged it to increase this private sector funding.

In December, the bank extended a $107-million grant to Zimbabwe to fund women and youth projects as well as the private sector, and $36-million towards the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam in the northwest of the country, Chinamasa said.

The International Monetary Fund said in November that Zimbabwe’s economy was showing no signs of recovery after adverse weather, low exports and election year uncertainty shattered growth prospects.

The global lender said the government needs strong macro-economic policies and debt relief along with a strategy to clear arrears in order to overcome its economic challenges. – AFP

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